A Comprehensive Guide to Arizona's Sexual Assault Laws
Put simply, sexual assault is engaging in sexual acts with a person without his or her consent. According to section 13-1406 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, sexual assault is a class 2 felony offense. If you were arrested on suspicion of sexual assault or know someone who was, we hope you find this comprehensive guide to Arizona's sexual assault laws helpful.
Types of Sexual Assault Charges
Sexual assault, or rape as it is often referred to, is a sexual offense committed without consent. There are many types of offenses detailed in Arizona law that might qualify as a type of sexual assault or misconduct, including:
- Violent Sexual Assault (ARS 13-1423)
- Sexual Conduct with a Minor (ARS 13-1405)
- Sexual Misconduct (ARS 13-1418)
- Molestation of a Child (ARS 13-1410)
Each sex offense carries different penalties/sentencing guidelines, so refer to the specific statute for further information.
Defenses Against Sexual Assault Charges
ARS 13-1407 lists various legal defenses available to those accused of sexual assault. The two listed in this statute include:
- The act was administered by a licensed physician, nurse, or someone acting under the direction of a physician/nurse, as a way of administering treatment
- The act was between spouses
In a similar vein, judges can accept evidence they find relevant to the case. This evidence can include:
1. Evidence of the victim's past sexual conduct with the defendant. 2. Evidence of specific instances of sexual activity showing the source or origin of semen, pregnancy, disease or trauma. 3. Evidence that supports a claim that the victim has a motive in accusing the defendant of the crime. 4. Evidence offered for the purpose of impeachment when the prosecutor puts the victim's prior sexual conduct in issue. 5. Evidence of false allegations of sexual misconduct made by the victim against others.
Jail Time for Sexual Assault Charges
Anyone charged with sexual assault faces mandatory jail time upon conviction. According to Arizona law, sentencing for sexual assault includes:
- A minimum 5.25 year prison term for first time offenders – max 14 years
- A minimum 7 year prison term for offenders who have a prior felony conviction – max 21 years
- A minimum 14 year prison term for offenders with two or more prior felony convictions – max 28 years
Offenders sentenced to prison for sexual assault may qualify for probation or early release at some point during their sentence. Offenders who are convicted of sexual assault with the intention to inflict serious physical injury may be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Sex Offender Registration for Assault in Arizona
Arizona's sex offender registration laws are detailed in Article 3, Chapter 38 of the criminal codes. Anyone convicted of sexual assault will be required to register as a sex offender in the state of Arizona. Failure to register as a sex offender could warrant additional penalties. Sex offenders are separated into three tiers. Tier 1 offenders are the lowest risk and Tier 3 are the highest. In Arizona, registration is determined in part by risk level, and risk level is determined based on 19 criteria. Sexual assault could warrant lengthy or lifetime registration.
Common Questions About Registering As a Sex Offender
What is the difference between a registered sex offender and a registered predator?
While sexual offenders are required to register, sexual predators are required to register as well as undergo a review before their release. Anyone who meets the criteria of violent sexual predator after an extensive review will be held at an Arizona hospital after their release from prison.
If I'm registered as a sex offender in Arizona, do I have to register
in states that I visit?
Arizona registered sex offenders are required to register themselves in states that they visit if they are going to be staying ten or more days. Any registered sex offender who fails to register their visitation in another state can be charged with a class 4 felony.
I heard that sex offenders have to get special driver's licenses in
Arizona. Is this true?
Anyone who is convicted of a sex offense and required to register as a sex offender must get a special type of driver's license from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) if they wish to drive after their release. Driving without this license is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Are there limits on where I can live since I am a registered sex offender?
Only certain sex offenders are limited on where they can live. Some judges, if they see fit, can prohibit an offender from living within a certain proximity to a school or public area. For more information on these restrictions, visit ARS 13-3727.
Retaining a Defense Attorney for a Sexual Assault Charge
If you or someone you know has been accused of sexual assault, we encourage you to contact a Phoenix criminal defense attorney at our firm. MayesTelles PLLC is a team of former prosecutors and skilled lawyers with more than 50 years of experience, ready to help those facing serious sex offense allegations in the greater Phoenix area. To learn more about how we might be able to help you, call today or fill out a free consultation form.